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Sounds of Peace #1
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#1 GAGAKU means "Elegant Music." This first piece is called ETENRAKU or "Music brought from heaven." From the ancient Silk Road country of Khotan, an important buddhist kingdom until Muslim invasion in 11th Century. It came into WA- no- Kuni (The Land of Harmony) at the time of the Great Prince Shotoku-Taishi, 6th Century. It is performed at times when we want to announce something out into vast space, into the Kosmos, into the world of spirits and drala and kami. For example, this piece was performed here at Shotoku-an by the Gagaku Ensemble at Ichi-Hime Shrine, to announce the opening of Shotoku-an in 2001, our wedding in 2002, the opening of the TEE-ART Exhibition in 2008, and the opening of the DHARMA ART TALKS by Kongtrul Rinpoche in 2010. So... "Etenraku" is included in this collection, to announce the offering of sound, "THE SOUNDS OF PEACE into THE FOUR DIRECTIONS." May all creatures and spirits hear these sounds. May all creatures and spirits abandon the ways of aggression. May all creatures and spirits desire to enter onto the Path of Peace.
#2 CELLO/SHAKUHACHI. Bach's Suite for unaccompanied cello in G major. Performed by William Perkl and Koichi Yamada, for the opening of the Winter Fire Ceremony, 2011. Just before the Earthquake/tsunami
#3 CELLO/SHAKUHACHI. An improvisation of the Tara Mantra from the Nepal buddhist nun Choying Drolma. Listen for the repetitions of "om tare tuttare ture svaha." Repeated again and again, calling up the goodness mind of wisdom and compassion from the deep-ness of our hearts. Performed by William and Koichi-san.
#4 CELLO/SHAKUHACHI. An improvisation of the old Hungary folk song. Not the usual four strophe/stanza, but three strophe/stanza that was common long ago from the Ural Mountains to the Black Sea. By Will and Koichi-san.
#5 CELLO/SHAKUHACHI. Kyoto folk song, a sad lullaby for a little girl. The Japanese name is "Takeda no Komori Uta." By Will and Koichi. Just a simple lullaby for the many little children we love and cherish.
#6 SITAR/TABLA. This is actually two Ragas, the first is the traditional "Evening Raga." The second is a
Raga for Agni, the Hindu spirit of Fire. An improvised Raga, especially for the opening of the Winter Fire at Shotoku-an. The two Raga are separated by a a few words about the rythm. Agni is the spirit of fire, always close to us, just waiting for some small spark to invite him into this visible world. When the fuel is burned-up, he returns to the more invisible spirit world, known only to a few humans. There he awaits the next invitation, the next spark, to once again arise and benefit the people. Listen for the many "sparks" by two young Kyoto guys: Yohei-san and Kosuke-san. You can hear the sparks igniting the fuel, the flaring up of the flames, the blazing of the warming fire, the cooking fire. You can feel the steadiness of the fire when it becomes story-telling time, and finally sleeping time.
#7 DONA NOBIS PACEM. "Give us Peace." By Evi Kienast. An invocation, a longing, from Christian Europa. Like the "Tara Mantra," a calling for the good spirit of peace in the human heart to rise-up. Like Agni, to rise-up and blaze like fire. Only by calling-out "DONA NOBIS PACEM" can we dispel the hot and heavy and dark of this very Dark Age of materialism.
#8 FLAMENCO RYTHMS. Spontaneous clapping rythms by the Flamenco dancer, Rie Oigawa
#9 CALLIGRAPHY. Listen for the sound of the brush and ink, sliding down a very long piece of paper. At the end, Masako-san reads the four kanji: "Ho Ho Kore Heiwa." The words are from Thich Nhat Hahn: "Peace is Every Step." When we are sitting quietly, we watch every breath, moving in and moving out. We watch every thought arising, and dwelling, and dissolving back into the space of wisdom mind. When we are moving and doing something, we notice each action. Every step is important. Everything we do is important. This is why we practice, so that we can notice the small small points of our everyday life. In this way, we respect our life.
We respect each step, and we create Sacred World. For self and others.
#10 SHAKUHACHI "Banshiki" is a piece from Iccho-ken temple in Hakata. Played by Koichi Yamada in the kyosu style called "empty breathing." A quiet piece expressing simplicity and purity, for the ancestors. For the millions of Great Teachers and students, who have gone before us. Walking on the path of peace, they are the teachers, showing us the genuine Way of Peace. So really this a song of sad-joy. Appreciation for our spiritual ancestors, and a longing to follow in their footsteps. In this way, we too can pass all this on to the next generation. To Ayako's new baby girl, Yura. To Paris Yuko's new baby boy Enzo. To Andrea's new baby. To all the little children of the next 10 generations.
#11 SHAKUHACHI "Sanya" is from another temple Futai-ken in Fukushima. From the tradition of the komuso, the monks who wander from village to village, practicing Fuki-zen. Za-zen is sitting zen. Kyu-do is tachi-zen, standing-zen, practicing with bow and arrow. Cha-zen is ugoki-zen, moving-zen. Koichi-san's shakuhachi is fuki-zen, or breathing and blowing-zen. He does not play the flute, he breathes the flute. This was the practice of the komuso in north Japan, in the same place as the recent disaster in Japan. This piece expresses something of the pathos and sadness of all people trapped in this world of human suffering.
#12 CHANTING. In this piece, our great Shotoku-an friend, Nakagawa-sensei, is chanting the "Za-zen Wasan." Hakuin-zenji was the great Zen teacher from about 200 years ago, and he wrote these words of "Praise for the Practice of Za-zen." He did this because the za-zen practice was in a state of decline, and he wanted to inspire the few Japanese people who were trying to practice correctly, properly and altogether. Even today his "Za-zen Wasan" is important for us.
This is a simple idea of what Nakagawa-sensei is chanting. At 93 years old, he is trying to show something to the students of Shotoku-an. Hakuin-Zenji's main points are: Originally we are awake. Our natural mind is awake mind. Same s water and ice. But we always look outside, and we worry about being happy. Walking from one dark road to the next dark road. But to sit quietly helps immensely. At this very moment, awake mind recognizes awake mind. This is the discovery of peace. At any time. At any place. In this very moment of Now. This very place of Now. No attachment to desire mind. Freedom from desire mind. This is border-less mind. The mind of the Kosmic Mirror. Do you want more than this?
#13 SOUND of the WIND. This piece is performed by you. Just now. Just sit quietly with open eyes, and ears. With open arms. With open heart. And just listen to the wind moving in and out. The breathing moving in and out. Just listen. Just notice all the sounds of thinking mind as the breath comes in and the breath goes out. Ten minutes maybe. Twenty minutes maybe. Just listen, with some small smile.
All pieces recorded at Shotoku-an. GASSHO and KANSHA to William, Koichi, Evi, Masako, Rie, Yohei, Kosuke, Gagaku Ensemble, and Nakagawa-sensei. Special thanks to Hiromi her recording this, to Tora-san for bringing this to us via CD. And very special thanks to Mr. Kohara-san for his painting, inspired by the events in north Japan, only three days after much of this was recorded. And very special thanks to Evi for coming here in the midst of all these exciting events.
Please just enjoy for about one hour. And then, what do you think? KiKi...SoSo. jack
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